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December 12, 2018

Unpacking the truth behind Brett Kavanaugh’s most dubious statements about his high school years

September 28, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh makes his opening statement following Christine Blasey Ford’s hearing.

Yearbook pages and calendar entries offer context to Brett Kavanaugh’s Thursday testimony before the Senate Judiciary committee.

The Supreme Court nominee and his sexual assault accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, spent an emotionally draining day fielding questions from both Senators and an outside attorney. Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University, recalled before lawmakers how Kavanaugh allegedly pinned her down on a bed and attempted to remove her clothes during a small gathering of friends.

Kavanaugh provided his calendar pages from May through August of that summer as evidence to bolster his denials, but a particular entry seemed to instead provide credibility for Ford’s timeline.

Yearbook jokes – which Kavanaugh tried to downplay – also present an image of prep school immaturity.

Here are the details behind some of Kavanaugh’s most dubious statements about his high school years.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., circles the names of friends of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on a depiction of his high school calendar as he speaks at a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP)

July 1, 1982

During the hearings Thursday, attorney Rachel Mitchell, hired by the Republican majority to question Kavanaugh and Ford, pointed to the July 1 calendar entry.

“Tobin’s House – Workout/ Go to Timmy’s for Skis w/ Judge, Tom, PJ, Bernie, Squi,” it reads.

Kavanaugh confirmed the high school pals he’d met up with that day were Tim Gaudette, Mark Judge, Tom Kaine, P.J. Smyth, Bernie McCarthy and Chris “Squi” Garrett — the mention of “skis” seemingly a reference to beer.

Ford previously identified both Smyth and Judge among those at the party where the alleged assault occurred — but Kavanaugh dismissed possibilities that this July 1 entry could be the gathering in question, pointing out that it occurred on a Thursday.

“The event described by Dr. Ford presumably happened on a weekend because I believe everyone worked and had jobs in the summers,” he said, adding that his was mowing lawns.

Judge also had a summer job. According to his book, “Wasted” he “spent a few weeks working as a bag boy at a local supermarket” to “raise money for football camp,” which Kavanaugh noted began on Aug. 22.

Ford on Thursday revealed she spotted Judge working at a Potomac Safeway six to eight weeks after the alleged incident, the timing of which lends credibility to Ford’s account.

“If a gathering like Dr. Ford had described occurred, would you have documented that?” Mitchell asked him.

“Yes, because I documented everything, those kinds of events, even small get-togethers,” he told her.

Mitchell again asked if there’s any event on his calendar that “would remotely fit what we’re talking about in terms of Dr. Ford’s allegation,” prompting a resounding “No” from Kavanaugh. After, the attorney was tagged out by Republican Senators, who did not address the potentially pivotal date on the calendar again.

Extracts of his high school yearbook are displayed as Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the US Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill
Extracts of his high school yearbook are displayed as Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the US Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill (SAUL LOEB / AFP/Getty Images)

The yearbook

In a fiery back and forth with Sen. Sheldon White House (D-RI), Kavanaugh claimed the use of his high school yearbook page to poke holes in his account was “absurdity.” The yearbook became the subject of widespread scrutiny earlier this month for its seeming references to wild parties, drinking and sex.

“I don’t know if it’s ‘buffed’ or ‘boofed.’ How do you pronounce that?” Sheldon asked him.

Kavanaugh said the term featured on his page – “Judge have you boofed yet?” — referred to “flatulence” but the term also has an alternatively vulgar definition which refers to mixing drugs and anal sex.

He also tried to explain away his mention of “Devil’s Triangle,” which he described as a drinking game involving three cups and coins.

“It’s a quarters game,” Kavanaugh told lawmakers, though the term in slang typically refers to a sexual act involving two men and one woman.

The Supreme Court nominee also denied “FFFFFFourth of July” was an inappropriate and sexually explicit acronym. Attorney Michael Avenatti — who is representing another Kavanaugh accuser, Julie Swetnik – previously suggested it stands for “Find them, French them, Feel them, Finger them, F–k them, Forget them.”

Kavanaugh on the other hand, claimed it was an inside joke, poking fun at a friend who “wound up” before saying the F-word. He made a similar claim while discussing the phrase “Renate Alumnius,” an apparent reference to a student at a nearby Catholic school named Renate Schroeder Dolphin.

Her name appears on 14 different pages in the Georgetown Prep yearbook, one of them reading “You need a date/ And it’s getting late/ So don’t hesitate /To call Renate.”

“That yearbook reference was clumsily intended to show affection and that she was one of us,” Kavanaugh said in his opening remarks. “But in this circus, the media has determined the term was related to sex. It was not related to sex. She and I never had any sexual interaction at all. So sorry to her for that yearbook reference.”

He previously said it meant he went on a date with Schroeder, who was not immediately available for comment. In a statement to the New York Times, said the sexual implications of the yearbook page are “horrible, hurtful and simply untrue. I pray their daughters are never treated this way.”

Christine Blasey Ford testifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Christine Blasey Ford testifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP) (Saul Loeb / AP)

The witnesses

Senators calls for an FBI investigation Thursday were waved off by Kavanaugh, who claimed on eight separate occasions that there are witnesses to support his version of events.

He repeatedly referenced “Dr. Ford’s longtime friend,” Leland Keyser, telling lawmakers she denied the incident occurred – but that is not entirely ture.

Keyser has said that she does not recall the party or gathering, though she has said that she believes Ford’s account. The California-based psychologist said Keyser was downstairs when Kavanaugh and Judge allegedly corralled her into a room and assaulted her.

“I don’t expect that PJ and Leland would remember this evening. It was a very unremarkable – it was not one of their more notorious parties, because nothing remarkable happened to them that evening,” Ford testified.

The legal drinking age

Kavanaugh accurately stated that that the drinking age in Maryland had been 18 for “most” of his high school years, but the age limit was upped to 21 more than seven months before his own 18th birthday.

While he admitted that there were likely points in high school where he had “too may beers,” Kavanaugh has repeatedly claimed that he was legally able to drink as a senior in high school.

“Yes, there were parties. And the drinking age was 18. And yes, the seniors were legal,” he said in a Fox News Interview Monday.

In testimony before the Senate, he said all his comments made in the interview were accurate and allowed them to be added to the record.

The legal age was raised to 21 on July 1, 1982. Kavanaugh did not turn 18 until Feb. 12, 1983. This timing also means it would have been illegal for Kavanaugh to drink during beach week, which included heavy alcoholic consumption, according to multiple eye witness accounts.

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